Namibia has 1 private and 1 state-run TV station; satellite and cable TV service is available. State-run radio service is broadcasts in multiple languages. There are about a dozen private radio stations and transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007).
U.S.-Namibian relations are good and continue to improve. Characterized by shared democratic values, commitment to rule of law, and respect for human rights, the bilateral relationship has been strengthened through trade ties and U.S.-Namibian partnerships. Namibia is a focus country under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and on September 3, 2010 the United States and Namibia signed a PEPFAR Partnership Framework.
In primary schools the national languages are used from grades one to three, and English is the language of instruction beyond grade seven. The Namibian education system encourages schools to offer at least two languages as subjects and to organize extracurricular language activities. Private schools are permitted to use any language throughout the primary cycle.
Although a small percentage of the population practices traditional religions, the vast majority are Christian. The Lutheran Church is the largest; other major denominations include the Catholic, Dutch Reformed, and Anglican churches. Easter and Christmas are public holidays and especially popular times for travel so families can gather together.
In 1950 the International Court of Justice issued a ruling that South West Africa, as Namibia was then known, should remain under international mandate and that South Africa should submit it to UN control. South Africa refused to comply with this judgment, however, and in 1966 extended its security and apartheid laws to the area. Namibia did not finally achieve independence until 1990.
Namibia has important mineral reserves including diamonds, zinc, uranium, copper, lead and tin. Mining is the most valuable economic activity; by the mid-1990s minerals accounted for as much as 90% of exports, with diamonds making up over half the total revenue from minerals. The country has few manufacturing industries apart from jewellery-making, some metal smelting, the processing of farm products, such as karakul pelts - sheepskins used to make fur coats - and textiles.
There is a sharp contrast in housing standards between white and black Namibians primarily because the economic imbalance between these groups has not evened out since the end of apartheid. A majority of the population is rural, where most dwellings are self-constructed from local materials. In 1990 about 50% of all housing units were huts.
Black Africans constitute about 87.5% of the population of Namibia; whites, about 6%; and people of mixed descent (Coloureds), about 6.5%. The principal nonwhite group is the Ovambo, an agricultural people who live primarily in the N and make up nearly half the total population.
Namibia is located on the southern margin of the tropics and has distinct seasons. The coast is cooled by the Benguela Current (which carries with it the country’s rich and recovering fish stocks) and averages less than 2 inches (50 millimetres) of rainfall annually. The Central Plateau and the Kalahari have wide diurnal temperature ranges, more than 50° F (30° C) on summer days and less than 20° F (10° C) in winter.
In 2000, the average life expectancy was 47 years and the infant mortality was 62 per 1000 live births. About 26% of children under age five were malnourished in 1990. The Namibian government is considering fortifying foods with vitamin A and/or iron since vitamin A deficiencies were seen in 20.4% of children under age five in 1992 and goiter is a common problem.